Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Blessings of Things Gone "Wrong"

This isn’t the post I had written for today. But yesterday my internet service went down, and after an hour on the phone with a lovely (but increasingly frustrated) man in Bangalore, I was informed that the all service in my area had been disrupted and would be restored in one to three days. So, I am sending this from the public library.

Just before I noticed that my internet service wasn’t working, I’d been wrestling with how to continue my work on a novel I’ve been writing off and on for well over a year. Buried in partial chapters, stacks of notes, and pages of contradictory outlines I’d been all too aware that I was using Facebook and email check-ins as a way to avoid the seemingly impossible task of finding the heart, soul and true direction of the story. I’d been intermittently at it for weeks without much progress. Even as I, once again, moved toward the often lovely but always distracting exchanges on line, I wondered how I would ever get this novel written working on a computer that had internet access.

And then- like a not-particularly-appreciated answer from the universe- my computer no longer had internet access. Even as I started going through the problem-solving steps advised by the service provider’s telephone help line, I was aware that the situation might fall under the be-careful-what-you-ask-for warning.

Tomorrow is the American Thanksgiving. We celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada in October (and before I am deluged with the annual queries that come in response to this news- no, my dear American friends, we did not have “The Pilgrims,” but we do celebrate Thanksgiving as a time of gratitude for the harvest in all areas of our lives.)

I like to think we can’t have too many Thanksgivings- so even if you don’t live in the United States, why not take advantage of the holiday there to offer thanks for our lives? And by this I don’t mean offering thanks for those things we think we “should” be thankful for- but dipping into the places where, when we give ourselves a few moments of quiet, a chance to take a deep inhale and full exhale and sink down into our bodysoul selves, gratitude naturally arises like a spring of fresh water bubbling to the surface.

Today’s internetlessness prompts me to consider where gratitude might be present for things that on the surface, appear to be difficulties, small snaffoos, things that interrupt our carefully laid plans or our habitual behaviour. Because sometimes, real and unexpected blessings come from things not being as we want them to be. Oh, I’m not talking about major heart-aches or painful challenges- although even as I write this I can’t help but think about all I have learned from the almost thirty years of having a sometimes incapacitating chronic illness- the patience, the ability to receive assistance from friends and family, an appreciation for pain-free moments that make simply being sweeter than I could have imagined.

Still, let’s start small. Let’s start with a loss of internet connection that interrupts my self-distraction from the task that feeds my soul: writing. Last night, before bed, I read and wrote and thrashed around with my novel notes and excerpts for six uninterrupted hours. And when I awoke this morning, I had it- I knew where I had gone off track, what needed to be done to restore the flow, where I was headed next. I lay in bed overwhelmed with gratitude, whispering to the pre-dawn darkness, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Oh, I’m not saying the universe or the god of struggling writers took out the internet service for all the folks in my area just to get me back on track with my writing. But. . . . I’ll receive this blessings with deep gratitude seasoned with genuine humility.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends to the south. May we each receive what is offered, and allow the gratitude to bubble up and make us smile.

Oriah (c) 2012


  1. Love this experience, thanks for sharing and I agree with you we just need to discipline ourselves a bit more. It is so easy to just not do it. lets do it!

  2. Ah, our procrastination-ings, how we love 'em!

  3. If I didn't know better I would think that you are the often-mentioned fly on the wall watching me play on Facebook and e-mail instead of writing. I can't for the life of me figure out why I keep myself from doing that which brings me so much joy when I actually do it. Is this something that only writers suffer from? It will be back to yellow legal pads and well-sharpened pencils for punishment! Looking forward to your novel.